The Philosophical Case for Robot Friendship


Authors
John Danaher
University College, Galway
Abstract
Friendship is an important part of the good life. While many roboticists are eager to create friend-like robots, many philosophers and ethicists are concerned. They argue that robots cannot really be our friends. Robots can only fake the emotional and behavioural cues we associate with friendship. Consequently, we should resist the drive to create robot friends. In this article, I argue that the philosophical critics are wrong. Using the classic virtue-ideal of friendship, I argue that robots can plausibly be considered our virtue friends - that to do so is philosophically reasonable. Furthermore, I argue that even if you do not think that robots can be our virtue friends, they can fulfil other important friendship roles, and can complement and enhance the virtue friendships between human beings.
Keywords Friendship  Robots  Virtue Friends  Aristotle  Good life  Applied Ethics  Technoethics  Technology  Humanity
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